The government has introduced a number of measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the UK. The exact guidance on what you can and can't do varies depending on the level of coronavirus infections where you live. For more information, visit the full guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- England is currently in a national lockdown. From 2nd December, the guidance will depend on the 'local restriction tier' where you live. Check which tier your area is in.
- Northern Ireland is currently in a 'circuit breaker lockdown' until 10th December.
- In Scotland, the guidance depends on the 'COVID protection level' in your area.
- Wales introduced a new set of national measures on 9th November.
Between 23rd and 27th December, all four nations are temporarily allowing up to three households to meet in a 'Christmas bubble'. It is a personal decision whether or not you choose to join a Christmas bubble. It is important to consider the risks carefully, especially if you, or anybody else in your household, are at higher risk of becoming seriously from COVID-19. If you do form a Christmas bubble, you should try your best to stay a safe distance away from people who are not part of your household, even if they are in your Christmas bubble.
In general, if you are currently in lockdown:
- You must stay at home, except for very limited purposes such as essential shopping, medical appointments, exercise, or to access childcare or education.
- You must work from home if at all possible.
- You must not meet people who are not part of your household or support bubble. There are very limited exemptions to this in England and Wales.
- You should only travel if it is essential.
- Some businesses must close temporarily. This includes leisure venues, bars, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, non-essential shops and places of worship (except for weddings and funerals, subject to restrictions).
In general, if you are not currently in lockdown:
- Limit the number of people you see; the more people you interact with, the more chance the virus has to spread. The exact guidance on how many people are permitted to meet indoors and outdoors is different in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- Work from home if you can. Your employer should support you to do this. If your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can go to work. Your employer should have made sure your place of work is 'COVID-secure'.
- Keep a safe distance away from people who are not members of your household, extended household or support bubble.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if hand-washing facilities aren’t available.
- Avoid crowded places as much as possible.
- Consider wearing a face covering if you have to go to an enclosed public space.
- You must wear a face covering on public transport and in shops, restaurants and pubs throughout the UK.
- In England, Scotland and Wales, you must wear a face covering in other indoor public places where you are likely to come into contact with people you don't know, such as museums, libraries, indoor recreation venues, community centres and places of worship. In Northern Ireland, face coverings are recommended, but not mandatory, in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible.
- Some people are exempt from wearing face coverings. The list of exemptions is slightly different in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The government has produced downloadable exemption badges and cards for people who are exempt to use if they want to. These are also available in Welsh. However, people who are exempt from wearing a face covering should not be asked for proof of their exemption. You do not need a letter from the government or your doctor stating that you are exempt from wearing a mask.
- Avoid anyone with possible symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a loss of or change in your sense of taste or smell.
- Self-isolate and arrange to have a test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms of COVID-19. You should also self-isolate if anybody else in your household, extended household or support bubble has symptoms of COVID-19.
- Consider using the contact tracing app for your region:
This guidance is also summarised in the government guidance on what you can do to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and in Public Health England's visual guide to working and living safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are over 70 or you have an underlying health condition that means you are eligible to have the annual flu vaccine, you are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. The government calls this group of people ‘clinically vulnerable’. If you are in this group, you should take particular care to follow the current social distancing guidelines. The government has issued guidance for households that include people who are clinically vulnerable.
If you have a serious health condition, you are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The government calls this group of people ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. If you are in this group, you should have received a letter from the government or from your GP advising you what to do. Many people with lymphoma are considered to be in this group.
If this is the case for you, please refer to our guidance for people with lymphoma on the shielded patient list. This information is based on the full government advice for people in extremely vulnerable groups.
If you think you are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and you have not yet received a letter or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss this with your GP or hospital clinician.